French manufacturers Citroën and Peugeot have both lost their way when it comes to making quality hot hatches, but with the unveiling of the new DS3 Racing it would appear that Citroën may have recovered some of their mojo.
The standard 150bhp DS3 DSport hatch is a funky looking Mini alternative but lacks the performance to trouble many performance hatchbacks, but that’s set to change with a tuned version of the 1.6-litre THP engine under the bonnet. Now with 200bhp at its disposal the DS3 Racing is ready to go chasing the 175bhp Mini Cooper S and John Cooper Works (that both share the same basic engine) and will give the upcoming Audi A1 a run for its money.
Unveiled at Geneva, the Citroën DS3 Racing will appear in the second half of 2010 and will be limited to a run of just 1000 units. This isn’t just a cosmetically enhanced model either, there are a lot of mechanical changes to the car to enhance power and improve handling.
The engine has been reworked to improve power by almost 30% over the standard unit, with torque up 15% to 275Nm. This is thanks to some new powertrain components, a reworked turbo and an ECU upgrade. Sadly there’s no word on the actual performance figures for the DS3 Racing, but rest assured it’ll be pretty fast.
A quicker steering rack promises improved steering response, while frot and rear shocks have been tuned to cope with the extra power. Stiffer springs are used, resulting in a drop of 15mm in ride height, while both front and rear track are increased by 30mm to improve stability.
The braking system has also been upgraded to ensure control over the car’s additional horsepower. The front wheels get 4-piston racing callipers and special disc-brakes, while the rear wheels gwet new drilled discs. On top of that, the ESP has been adapted to complement the sportier handling and improve control, but can be disengaged according to your preferred driving style.
The plan is for production Citroën DS3 Racing editions to be finished in a special workshop and fitted with a parts kit developed according to Citroën Racing specifications, in a similar way to how Abarth fit the Esseesse kits to their cars. But will Citroën ship the parts in a special wooden crate and allow you to take it home with you?